O’ Captain, My Captain

I am sitting here in bed, with the lamp by my bedside turned on providing minimal lighting, with my puppy asleep beside me, and I immediately felt the need to write. It is always this time of night when my thoughts do not shut off. When the rest of the world is peacefully sleeping, I stay up and think.

I’ve been very focused on myself recently. My health and well being, finishing school and starting a new career, and trying to better myself in every way. I started reflecting on life; things that I’ve felt proud of and times where I wish I could have done things differently. But, that’s how life works right? You learn from mistakes and failures. I just wish the crappy feeling of regret and guilt would not haunt me. I try to channel that guilt into something positive. I try to be a better person. I use those mistakes to make me better.

This post started off with one main idea and somehow I geared off into something else. But hey, that’s what writing is.

I started reflecting on things that inspire me like books or movies. Dead Poets Society, was the movie that really paved the way for me wanting to be a teacher. My senior year of high school I was almost certain I knew what I wanted my major in college to be. I made it to college, after many obstacles, and I ended up changing my major about 5 times, as most young adults do. It was not until I watched this movie when it really hit me. I had been a martial arts instructor for many years and I found such enjoyment in teaching my children’s classes. I found something I was good at. I was able to mix my hobby of martial arts and teaching all wrapped in one. It was perfect.

Robin Williams, plays Mr. Keating, the main character in the movie. He is an English teacher at an all boys Catholic school where rules and curriculum are very rigid. He taught these boys about more than just the mundane school work. He taught them about life. How to follow their dreams. How to challenge themselves. How to remain true to what they really wanted. I remember watching the movie with wide eyes because he was so well respected. The boys admired him. And I thought, this is what I want.

“I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.” – Wonder

Now you’re probably wondering how this quote above relates to what I’m saying in my post. Here is the answer. I know my standing ovation will be when I become a teacher. I will finally have found my purpose. Why I am here. What I was set out to do. With all the twists and turns of life, I was led to this even when I least expected to choose this profession. I’m not sure if it was Robin William’s brilliant acting or the fact that I had already been teaching, or perhaps a mix of both, but I’m glad I was led down this path. I have been met with constant doubts and hesitation, but I remain true to what my soul wants. Every fiber in my being knows this is what I am meant for.

I always felt lost in a way. Like I did not have a sense of direction and I struggled to find my purpose. I looked to others for answers. I placed my happiness in the hands of others and what a mistake that was. As a young adult, it is quite easy to be swayed into making certain decisions because other people tell you that you should. I allowed that for far too long. People will begin to support your decisions when they see how successful you become. But, this should not matter at all.

My standing ovation will be when my students look to me as an inspiration, as the person they can talk to when they feel overwhelmed, the person they can discuss hopes and dreams with. I want my classroom to be a safe space for all my students.

I cannot wait to step foot into my classroom and finally begin my career.

O’ Captain, My Captain . . .

this photo is not my own.

Your Journey Is Up To You

Your journey is determined by YOU.

It is easy to look in someone else’s back yard and compare your successes to theirs. Compare your failures to theirs. To judge what they have and what you do not. There are so many blessings we take for granted. Being alive, waking up in the mornings, breathing fresh air, having fresh drinking water, having a warm house to live in, having food to eat, and family to love. These are the things we often take for granted and we shouldn’t.

I have done my fair share of comparing myself to others. Why can’t I be like them? Why can’t I be smart like them? Why can’t I be pretty like them or have everything they have? Why can’t I be successful like them?

What people do not see is what happens behind closed doors. What people sacrifice to get to where they are. Those years of hard work. The long journey or not giving up. Everyone has a different time line. Some graduate before others. Some get married before others. Some will be in their dream job much sooner than the next person. And the list goes on. Everyone has different priorities. This is no reason to feel inferior or put yourself down. You have come a long way and your successes are just as important. All of those failures you experienced have either led you to something better or resulted in you growing into something more.

It is easier said than done. I would be lying if I said I did not compare myself to others. But, as much as I am hard on myself, I use that as motivation to always do better. To keep striving for more.

Passion. Hard work. Dedication. Believing in your art. This will set you apart from others. You have to want it bad enough.

You have come this far. You have been beaten, bruised, and broken. But, look at where you are today. Never underestimate your strength, your power, and how far you can take it.

Your journey is determined by YOU. You can allow failures and the opinions of others to define your successes. Or you can tune them out and stay true to your path. People will say it cannot be done until someone sets out to do it. You, however, do not need to prove yourself to others. You need to prove to yourself how far you can go. How successful you can become.

Take control of your life. Start living for you.

Early Morning Thoughts

Passion.

Something so rare. Something not many have.

I have the utmost respect for those who remain true to their passion. Their light does not disappear because of the arrogance or jealousy of others.

With the mundane day to day routines of life, what are you passionate about? What keeps you motivated? What sets a fire in your belly when you speak about it?

Art. Music. Writing. Film making. Photography. There are so many overlooked professions that do not get the recognition they deserve. As kids, we are told that attending college is important and it is what will jump start our careers. Professions like being a doctor, lawyer, or engineer are all noble pursuits. But, what about those movies you love to watch or those books you love to read? It all started with passion. There are so many people behind the scenes who went into creating that movie or that book. Those books you love to read over and over again, there was a writer sitting behind a computer who started with merely an idea. The music you enjoy listening to, there was a musician who spent hours upon hours getting the song just right. However, all of these professions consist of learning how to adjust to failure and being able to stay true to yourself, despite people belittling your craft.

No one can take your passion from you. That is what sets you apart from the rest of the herd.

I just finished reading Ronda Rousey’s book, and for those of you who do not know who she is, she was the woman who paved the way for women to compete in the UFC, the world of mixed martial arts. She was the former Bantamweight Women’s Champion. Not to go into too much detail, but there was one thing, one thing that she consistently repeated throughout her chapters. She believed in her craft. She believed she could make it to the top, despite the naysayers telling her she was crazy. It was so motivational. If you read her book, you will quickly learn that she started from scratch. But, through all those hardships and failures, she still had that passion.

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” ~ A Bronx Tale

Do not allow the opinions of others deter you from pursuing your dream. Believe in your craft even when others do not.

Live YOUR Life According To YOUR Standards

I’m still learning this today, that what you allow and how you encourage others to treat you will always have an impact on the life you live. Words are just words. They may hurt, but we have to live our lives according to our standards. When we are broken, we often try to search for comfort in the arms and words of others. If we continue to seek solace and expect to be fixed by the hands of another, we will be left disappointed.

Life is too short to be unhappy and be living in the shadow of others. We are all set to accomplish things according to our own timelines. It is easy to compare ourselves to the person next to us and see what they have and what we do not. This is one of the many downfalls of the human race. Jealousy is a monster and many people have it. When we leave this world, all of those materialistic items will not matter. We take the memories. Which I want to make more of. So live your life because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

I am going to be 25 this year, and I feel like there is still so much I have yet to do. Places I want to visit, food I want to taste, music I want to listen to, art I want to see, nature I want to explore, languages I want to learn. I want to experience life for all the beauty it has to offer. My deepest fear is looking back on my life when I’m older and realizing I lived by everyone else’s standards.

I have struggled with making others happy and not focusing on what I truly want. I have grown up hearing, “You need to do this, you need to do that,” and what about me? What about what I want? I live in a different generation than my parents, their parents, and the parents before them. Our 20’s are the years to explore, find ourselves, and establish our identity. I do not want to rush. I do not want to start a career I loathe or live in a place I am miserable living in. I know too many people in their 30’s and 40’s even who do not like the situation they are in. I am sick and tired of hearing I need to have my entire life figured out at 24. I am tired of people telling me I am not good enough or I need to do more. I have accomplished a lot for my 24 years and I should be proud of myself. I should not seek happiness, validation, or approval from anyone. I will always be miserable if that is the case. I cannot continue to spend my 20’s worried about the opinions of others, what they think of me, or their critiques of my life choices. If I continue to allow people to structure my decisions and keep allowing them to influence my life and not for the better, I will not truly live. People will always have something to say, so let them say it. Do not allow others to hold you back from what you want. Go out and get it, period. And stay to yourself. Work in silence.

Sometimes you just need to be your own savior. Be able to feel whole entirely on your own. If you have made it this far on your own, you can certainly keep going. It may be hard, but the more you experience, the stronger you become. It builds a warrior; a survivor.

Be your own biggest fan. Celebrate your success. But also celebrate your failures. This is when we truly learn; when we truly grow. Things will fall into place as they are meant to. Do not rush the process and have faith you will accomplish anything you set your mind to if you are wiling to put in the time and effort.

Living a mediocre life is not what I plan to do. I plan to make it extraordinary.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com